Polycom, IBM Deliver Click-to-Video Conference

Polycom and IBM have partnered on product integrating Lotus Notes and Sametime for unified communications.

Polycom on August 20 will be the latest vendor to tout a partnership with IBM involving integration with Lotus Notes and Sametime for unified communications.

At VoiceCon in San Francisco, Polycom will introduce the Polycom Unified Collaboration for Lotus Sametime and Lotus Notes offering, which allows Sametime and Notes users to initiate point-to-point and multi-point video conferences as well as voice conferences from within those IBM programs.

Polycom has teamed up with IBM on a couple of levels: for the integration work with IBMs UC2 infrastructure and to allow IBMs Global Technology Services organization to resell and integrate Polycoms family of voice and video conferencing products, including bridges and media servers into customers existing environments.

"This is high quality audio and video with a single click. You can launch a call from within the Sametime client, whether youre using a desktop device or you want to push it to a room-based system," said Jonathan Ross, vice president of strategic relationships at Polycom, in Andover, MA. "Were delivering on demand video and audio, content and collaboration with a single click," he added.

Ross claimed that IBM has an installed base of some 18 million Lotus Sametime users and 130 million Lotus Notes users, and that it is the market leader for enterprise-based collaboration.

IBM has also partnered with Cisco Systems and with Nortel Networks to integrate their unified communications offerings with Lotus Notes and Sametime.

The partnership takes more advanced Unified Communications users where they want to go, believes Melanie Turek, principal analyst in the Unified Communications practice at Frost & Sullivan, in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

"Although very few companies today are deploying true unified communications that incorporate video, thats what companies want to do. Deeper partnerships on a technical level are good for them," she said.


To read more about IBMs UC2 platform and Cisco integration, click here.

The integration with IBMs UC2 collaboration suite incorporates IBMs presence engine, Instant Messaging, and Web meeting. Although the integration is optimized for Polycoms video systems, it will support any standards-based video system and any standards-based IP phone, he said.

Lotus Notes users who also hold a license for Lotus Sametime can initiate a voice or video conference call from their contact list, e-mail or address book using the Click-to-Call or Click-to-Conference features.

Those same features can be used to escalate an IM chat to a voice or video call or to a multi-point conference. Within Sametime Web conferencing, users can initiate Instant Meetings with voice and video conferences, or they can schedule Web conferences at a later time that incorporate voice or video conferencing.

The integration is delivered via a new Polycom RAS 200I application server. The server provides call routing between the Lotus programs and Polycoms desktop and room-based video conferencing systems. Configurations are available that support video conferencing, voice conferencing or conferencing that combines participants using phones and video conferencing systems in the same meeting.

Polycoms partnership with IBM over Lotus Notes and Sametime integration speaks to the momentum IBM has been building behind its UC2 initiative, Turek believes.

"A year or two ago the knee jerk reaction was, Im going to partner with Microsoft. Now vendors are recognizing IBM Lotus has a very mature Unified Communcations product with a significant user base," she said.

In separate news, Polycom is also preparing to launch four new IP-based phones that work with Microsofts forthcoming Office Communications Server 2007 IP PBX. They include an executive desktop phone with a color screen and high-definition voice, a portable speakerphone, a deskphone for a PC and a cordless handset phone. The latter three connect to a PC via a USB link.

They are all due in the fourth quarter.


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